Questions tagged [compounds]

複合語. Words formed by putting two or more words or other elements together.

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Rules or criteria for 連濁: Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words

Examples first. 空 {そら}. Almost all compound nouns for which 空 is the second component pronounce it as ぞら zora: 青空 {あおぞら} 夜空 {よぞら} 星空 {ほしぞら}. There is at least one exception though: 美空 {みそら}. 蕎麦 {...
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Are all kanji compounds considered words?

A friend once commented to me that Japanese has a larger vocabulary than English. I said I didn't think it did, because it wasn't really accurate to call all kanji compounds "words". My friend said I ...
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What are the nuances between these three terms for intelligence: 知恵 [ちえ], 知能 [ちのう], 知性 [ちせい] ?

In particular which one is closer to the idea of "ability to reason over things" as a quality of someone in particular? What I believe is that 知識 on the other hand is closer to "knowledge" and "...
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What is the difference in meaning between “husband and wife” 夫婦【ふうふ】 and 夫妻【ふさい】?

I see that those two compounds mean husband and wife, as a married couple. But is there a difference in usage or context?
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575 views

Exceptional compounding forms

There are a number of Japanese words which have distinct compounding forms: -a/-e alternation: 天・雨、酒、上、風、目 — many examples. -u/-i alternation: 神([神]{かむ}[集]{つど}ふ)、月([月]{つく}[読]{よみ}) -o/-i alternation: ...
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What is the etymology of [山葵]{わさび}?

I know that "わさび" 'wasabi' can also be written using kanji as "山葵" and that these two characters mean respectively "mountain" and "hollyhock", but hollyhock doesn't seem at first glance to be related. ...
13
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1answer
849 views

What are the pitch-accent rules for compound nouns?

I've been trying to learn the pitch-accent of standard Japanese, but this is more difficult as it should be as it's hard to find good learning resources that provide proper descriptions of how the ...
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194 views

How do I read 数 in ページ数?

ページ数 means number of pages. Is it すう or かず?
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384 views

What is the difference between 思【おも】い付【つ】く and 思【おも】い浮【う】かぶ?

The words 思い付く and 思い浮かぶ both mean something along the lines of "to come to mind". But I'm not actually sure about the details of when to use one versus the other. Yet, at the same time, they don't ...
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The difference between 辞書 and 字引

My dictionary lists both 辞書{じしょ} and 字引{じびき} as simply, "Dictionary." On tatoeba.org I can only find example sentences of 字引 where it is used in the phrase: 生き字引 = A walking dictionary Example: ...
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Was the name for the Shōwa era a voluntary pun?

According to dictionaries, the WA 和 in 昭和 has both the meaning of peace, harmonious and Japan, japanese (although mostly as the first kanji of a compound, such as in 和語). So I wonder how Japanese of ...
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1answer
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Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily?

I will take 客 as an example: Can 客 form a compound with 席, 娟, and all the other thousands of Japanese 漢字? If I put 席客, but not 客席, will the meaning be different? Or will it just have no meaning? Or ...
7
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2answers
262 views

Why isn't 日本料理 written as 日本の料理?

Both 日本 and 料理 are nouns but why aren't they concatenated with の? I think it should be written as 日本の料理 rather than 日本料理.
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330 views

人 - on'yomi ニン or ジン rule of thumb

I sometimes have trouble figuring out what on'yomi 人 has in unfamiliar jukugo, and was wondering whether there was any kind of rule-of-thumb for figuring it out, assuming it is the only character ...
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291 views

Is 翻す a former compound verb that merged into its current form?

The verb ひるがえす feels like it is made of two part ひる and かえす but I could not find any references backing this interpretation. And I can't figure out what would be ひる. @snailboat also mentioned くつがえす ...
7
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1answer
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Common 四{よ}字{じ}熟{じゅく}語{ご} that use/are 当{あ}て字{じ}

Are there any commonly used known 四{よ}字{じ}熟{じゅく}語{ご} that use/are 当{あ}て字{じ} besides the following? Just crossed my mind, and now I'm curious. 滅{め}茶{ちゃ}苦{く}茶{ちゃ}, 夜{よ}露{ろ}死{し}苦{く}, 無{む}理{り}矢{や}理{り}
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1answer
816 views

If a compound noun is made from a na-adjective suffix, is it followed by a な particle?

There are a few compound nouns that are made by compounding something with na-adjectives like 好き and 嫌い, for examples: 花見好き 子供好き 水嫌い 人嫌い 負け嫌い Are these compounds followed by a な particle? Or do they ...
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869 views

Does Japanese have morphemes that span two kanji?

I read once (in this comment by Victor Mair on Language Log) that Chinese has single morphemes that span two hanzi. The example given was the Chinese word pútáo 葡萄. At the time, I assumed it applied ...
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450 views

有り難う vs 有難う — Is this the same word?

Do both these words mean "thank you"? If both mean thank you why are they spelled differently? Is one more formal than the other?
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2answers
473 views

the omission of an implied “の” creates the appearance of a 四字熟語{よじじゅくご}?

I believe that www.yojijukugo.com has a pretty thorough list of 四字熟語? Is there a better site? However, I know that I've seen a lot of 4, or more, adjacent kanji that are not listed as 熟語。An example ...
6
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1answer
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しらゆきひめ 'Snow White'

I am trying to understand the title of a tale. しろ 'white' ゆき 'snow' ひめ 'princess' しらゆきひめ 'Snow White' If white is しろ, why is 'Snow White' not しろゆきひめ?
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3answers
382 views

A question about the usage of なるべく

I'm currently studying on my Intermediate Japanese book and I stumbled upon the usage of なるべく, with the meaning of as ~ as possible. The book gives me two examples and with the first one there's no ...
6
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1answer
96 views

What is the meaning of 店頭分?

I visited a shopping website, and I read 予約を含め在庫がなくなった場合、店頭分をご用意できない場合がございますことを予めご了承ください。I couldn't understand 店頭分 properly. What does it mean?
6
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1answer
164 views

How to read 資格外活動許可?

I know 資格 is しかく, 活動 is かつどう and 許可 is きょか, but the 外 puzzles me here. Is it just がい?
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2answers
559 views

You can use 「押し開ける」 to say “to push open”, but can you say 「押し閉める」 to mean “to push closed”?

For example, consider the following sentences: ドアを押し開ける。 I pushed the door open. ドアを引き開ける。 I pulled the door open. Can you do the same for 閉める? So for example: ドアを押し閉める。 I pushed the door ...
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2answers
150 views

How to pronounce noun compounds

How do I determine the pronounication of compound nouns such as 来年夏. Obviously 来年の夏 is pronounced らいねんのなつ but what happens when I remove the の? Does it just become らいねんなつ? My guess from everything I'...
6
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1answer
272 views

A name for common words that use uncommon kanji?

I didn't see a duplicate for this in the similar questions, so here goes. Is there either a list of words like this, or a name for this type of word (made of two very rare/complex kanji, but the word ...
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2answers
445 views

Analysis of もしかして (perhaps)?

I'm hearing this word a lot in Japanese drama and anime. What is the literal meaning of it? Does it have a Kanji form? What root(s) does it contain (I think there is a する in the second half of it? ...
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1answer
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Does 数独{すうどく} really mean “single number”?

I've never actually played a sudoku puzzle (I know, I live in a cave!). I just saw the word written in kanji somewhere, which rekindled my interest. Wikipedia states: The puzzle was popularized ...
5
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1answer
132 views

grammar - 接続 of compound words ending with verb-ず

In my understanding, the part of speech of a compound word is determined by its ultimate morpheme. (複合語の品詞は、後にくる語(形態素)の品詞によって定まります) 蒸す(V)+暑い(Adj) → 蒸し暑い(Adj) 持つ(V)+物(N)  → 持ち物(N) and a verb ...
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1answer
123 views

Is [馬面]{うまづら} a facial expression or a type of face shape?

馬面 I found it translated as: a horseface, a very long face; horse-faced, very long-faced. Now here we call "long face" to be really sad. So in the translation, I don't know if 馬面 is referring to a ...
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2answers
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Is it correct to say 複雑な波長?

My friend heard this in an anime. I can understand 複雑な波長パターン or something along these lines, but just 複雑な波長? Like, you wouldn't say "complex mass" or "complex speed", right? (unless maybe complex ...
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2answers
125 views

Abbreviating sets of compounds with leading characters in common

I recently asked a question about on- and kun-yomi and in building the title guessed at how the two compounds involved could be contracted; landing on 「音・訓読み」. Is this indeed the correct way of ...
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1answer
102 views

Why is it 悪魔 and not 悪の魔?

Shouldn't there be の to signify that 悪 modifies 魔? It seems to be a one word and not a phrase, how do we know if a double kanji is such a single word and not two separate ones when reading a text?
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1answer
159 views

Why is the State of the Union Address Called 一般教書演説?

The President of the United States gives a speech referred to in English as the "State of the Union". Why is this speech called 一般教書演説{いっぱんきょうしょえんぜつ} in Japanese?
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1answer
195 views

Compound words and の-particle

I'm not really a smart fellow so, please, be gentle. I have a slight unclearness in the difference between noun+の+noun construction and compound words. Could you help me to understand which of those ...
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1answer
192 views

Is 大判小判 a word on its own?

While reading a short story I came across the following: 大判小判. I understand that [大判]{おおばん} can refer to a large traditional Japanese coin and [小判]{こばん} can refer to a smaller traditional Japanese ...
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1answer
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Difference between 「にかかわらず」 and 「にもかかわらず」

I would like to know the difference between 「にかかわらず」 and 「にもかかわらず」 with regard to the semantics of the predicate-argument relation. Do they express the same semantic relation (non-causality?)? or ...
4
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1answer
472 views

What is the meaning of 人児, and is it a compound?

There's this rather unpleasant sign on a restaurant that says: 中国人&帰化人、残留孤児、中国系混血人児、絶対入店禁止、純血日本男児のみ。 Putting aside the racist content, from a linguistic point of view, the one word that throws me ...
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1answer
88 views

Is the adjective インディペンデント actually used as an adjective?

I saw a movie labeled インディペンデント作品 The adjective インディペンデント does not end in i and is followed by neither na nor no here. Is this meant as a strange compound noun (katakana + kanji)? Or is this a ...
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2answers
357 views

Analyzing breakdown of jukugo

I may just be misunderstanding the etymology of certain words, but I think of certain jukugo e.g. 「大学生」as being derived from patterns like 「大学の学生」, where there is a kanji-level shiritori, leading to a ...
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2answers
847 views

How do I read 初商業誌?

I searched google, jisho, and yahoo. I couldn't find a proper pronunciation for 初商業誌.
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2answers
242 views

What's the word or phrase used specifically to describe someone who is only concerned with physical appearence of others?

I believe it starts with み and is something like 'only has an eye for beauty', but it's been a long time since I used it. I believe it's a kanji compound.
3
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1answer
202 views

Why is vegetable 野菜 and not just 菜?

Whenever I see vegetable translated, it seems to always be as 野菜{やさい}. But doesn't 菜 by itself mean vegetable? If so, why add the extra character? I've noticed this in a couple of other cases as ...
3
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2answers
139 views

Meaning of 二次遭難{にじそうなん}

Context: the speaker was in a bad situation but got out of it, and has the expectation that the other party is going to scold him for his carelessness. あれだけ注意したのに、まんまと二次遭難してバカだと思ってるんだろ? ほんと、その通りだよ ...
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1answer
563 views

How to parse “あけぐち”?

I'm working out my Japanese by trying to read everything around me, including food packages. On my milk carton written inside a large arrow pointing to the spout is "あけぐち" in hiragana. Obviously ...
3
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1answer
908 views

What is the max number of kanji a jukugo can be made of?

So far I haven't seen any jukugo with more than 4 kanji. Is this a limit? Or some of them are made of more than 4 kanji? Also, I've seen jukugo made of other jukugo. Like 高速道路 is composed with two ...
3
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1answer
205 views

Why does gemination happen in many 真 compounds?

Inspired by https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/38733/3295 Some examples from Wiktionary: 真っ暗 (makkura, "total darkness") 真っ向 (makkō, "directly opposite", "right in front") 真っ黒 (makkuro, "...
2
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1answer
193 views

Using the stem form of a verb like the て form, as in 燃えゆく or 飲みほして

What is the significance of sometimes using the stem form of a verb like how the て form would be? For example: 燃えゆく (from HANABI) 飲みほして (from Ambiguous) It's something I hear now and again, but ...
2
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2answers
220 views

Pronunciation of 年

The general rule to choose between kun (とし) and on (ネン) readings does not seem to work here. Are 今年, 去年, 来年, 毎年, 半年, etc. different kinds of compounds justifying using different readings? Is this the ...